Saturday, January 07, 2017


Bart and I have chosen a path that requires a great deal of resiliency.  We of course, didn't realize this back when we started this journey.  We had no idea how deep into ourselves we were going go have to reach to find the strength we would need.  Back then we had no idea what attachment disorder was, or FASD, or ODD.   We may have known the letters or heard the concepts, but we certainly didn't know what it felt like to parent a child with those issues.   We didn't know anything about the juvenile justice system, or residential treatment, or teenage pregnancy, or homelessness.  We thought we did, but we were clueless.

The foster and adoptive parents that I know are ones who have learned to be resilient.   The word has a very simple definition:

the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties.  
One of the most powerful moments I have occurred a couple years ago.  There was a new treatment foster care agency that was presenting at a meeting I attended.  They were having great success in transitioning the most difficult teenagers from residential treatment into private homes.  Everyone at the presentation was dying to ask the question, so at the end someone said, "What did you do to get the kids to change enough to be in that setting."

The answer was astounding.  They said, "We do absolutely nothing to help the children.  We teach the foster parents resiliency."

So I thought today, since it is snowing and I can't do the fun stuff I had planned for today, that I would come up with five things that have helped us be more resilient and tell you about them.

1)  Remember that this is a season.   "And it came to pass" are some of the most encouraging words in the whole Bible because they remind us that whatever we are going through, or feeling, or experiencing, isn't going to last forever.   There will be brighter days.

2)  Remember the times in the past that have been difficult and the fact that you made it through them.  People are surprised at my lack of anxiety about the bad things that could possibly happen to our children and say they wished they could be that calm.  I literally laugh out loud at them and tell them that the only way to get to this point is to have already survived almost every bad thing that could possibly happen.  With very few exceptions, we have survived nearly everything that parents could confront and we are still standing.

3)  Look for one moment of joy each day.  This is one of my survival tips in my book "Okay, which one of you took my sanity" but it really works.  I look for something good that has happened each day and almost every day I can find one.  And then I tell myself that I definitely want to get up in the morning and find out what tomorrow's moment of joy will be.   One of my big moments of joy today is that my twin granddaughters turned one yesterday and I am looking forward to seeing lots of cute pictures of them with their big brother!

4)  Count the days, or the hours, or the minutes.   I know this sounds crazy, but sometimes I just have to count the time until something is over.    I remember times when almost all our kids were teenagers  at the same time (I know, not good planning) when I would literally count the minutes until it was time to leave for school in the morning.

5).  Spend time with and hang out with resilient people.  Find people in your life who know how to get through tough times and then hang on tight to their hope when you have none.  Email them, call them, FaceTime them, SnapChat them, FB message them.... however you can be around them, be around them.

6).  I know I said five, but this one is too good not to include.   Read positive stuff.   Scripture works. So do novels that have feel good endings and self-help books.  Anything that makes you feel better when you put it down, put that in your brain.  It can distract and sustain you.

So now I am going to have to write this again and take out my complete rant about Tony, and then I can post it places, but for those of you who have been my blog readers forever, I thought you would want the kind of blogging I used to do back in the day  :-)


Lee said...

I love this post!

Marci said...

As a very long time reader, I am amazed how often I sit down to read your blog and there are the words I needed to read. With eleven kids and nine of those adopted, we have had our share of challenges. Even though they are now grown, we are still constantly dealing with their poor judgment and bad choices. Unfortunately, we are in the middle of a very difficult time right now. Thank you for writing what I really needed today!!